Is Long Term Food Storage Right for You?

You might be wondering what the hype is about stockpiling food for emergency preparedness and survival. In fact, long term food storage has been in practice for a very long time. There is a real art and science to the preservation of food dating back thousands of years. Think of eras when there was no refrigeration.

In modern times, food storage techniques are quite sophisticated and can result in foods that can last many years if sealed properly. So, why would you want or need to put food away for another time? Let’s explore the most common reasons for long term food storage.

Reasons for Long Term Food Storage

Natural and Man-Made Disasters

One of the more common reasons for stockpiling food is so that you are prepared in the event of a devastating storm that knocks all power and roads out for days or longer. This can also be useful in the event of a man-made disaster, such as a fire or even war. Armed forces troops rely on preserved Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) kits for sustenance while in the field.

Economic Hardship

Imagine unexpectedly losing your primary source of income and facing the prospect that you can’t put food on the table for your family for some time. This is when canned and jarred goods, pasta, grains, and dried produce can get you through the rough times.

Extended & Remote Travel

When trekking through the great outdoors or visiting remote destinations you will likely have to rely on prepared meals and beverages to survive. If you are an avid hiker, you might have noticed outposts along trails where packages can be delivered for pick-up. These are often food items that have been preserved and mailed by backpackers to themselves for replenishing their food stores.

Food Storage Methods

As mentioned earlier, food storage techniques are fairly sophisticated these days. You can obviously pick up canned and jarred items at your market. Or, you can order dehydrated prepared meals from reputable companies that specialize in survival. You can also prepare your own foods for storage using some of these techniques and equipment.

A dehydrator is a wonderful low temperature oven with mesh shelves that allow for air to circulate around food for drying it. Dehydrators are best for drying fruit, vegetables, nuts, and animal protein to extend their shelf life.

Pressure canning is a method of preserving fresh produce and protein in glass jars. Sterilized jars containing foods in a bath of brine or syrup are sealed via steam under pressure. This is something you can do at home.

It is possible to freeze dry food in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator. This involves freezing fresh foods on trays to remove as much moisture as possible, including fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese, and tofu. Once the moisture has vaporized, place the food in vacuum sealed bags for best storage results. Store freeze dried foods in your freezer or pantry.

Food storage buckets with gamma seal lids are ideal for bulk items, such as dried beans, grains, sugar, salt, and powdered milk. The buckets must be food grade. Gamma seal lids are designed to keep moisture and pests out of the containers.

Common Food Options for Long Term Storage

While there are really few limits on what you can store long term, there are some staples that you might want to include in your preparedness stash. The goal is to choose foods that will last for at least 3 to 5 years. Just remember to store them by date and replenish as you use the foods. Here are the top choices:

  • White rice
  • Rolled oats
  • Pasta
  • Dried fruits and vegetables
  • Dried beans
  • Canned meats, fruits, vegetables, and soups
  • Peanut butter
  • Jerky
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Powdered milk
  • Bouillon packets
  • Coffee and tea
  • Powdered electrolyte drinks
  • Energy bars

Final Thoughts

Long term food storage is a smart way to extend the shelf life of foods that may come in handy in an emergency, times of economic hardship, and for camping trips. It is always a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected. Hopefully, this primer has given you some tips for long term food storage. And don’t forget to enjoy the foods before they expire.